Okinawan Sweet Potato Bars Fight Cancer Alongside Picture Book, The Dirty Nil, Trails and Ways and Benjamin Francis Leftwich
I was scheduled to attend a math training tonight so right after work I stopped by our local supermarket to get a sandwich made. While waiting in line a couple in front of me was trying to figure out what to order. The woman made a comment about wanting to be a “vegetarian.” The guy fired back “Don’t get me any of that vegetarian s**t.” My co-worker, ever the fire starter, whispered to me loud enough that they could hear, “That’s one of those vegetarian haters.” Both the guy and girl turned around and stared at us. We were captured in one of those awkward moments of nobody really knowing what to say. My co-worker was the first to break this staring contest when she turned and walked away. At that moment I was called to the counter and I tried to quietly order my veggie sub. Overhearing me, the girl turned and said “So you are a vegetarian?” I confirmed it. Then she proceeded to tell me her eating history. Something about meat eating and going vegetarian because her mom had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and she attributed it to her diet and can I help her with suggestions about what vegetarians eat and how to deal with unsupportive boyfriends and family and…well you get the point. I offered some words of encouragement, a few suggestions, what worked for me. The boyfriend, who had been silent this whole time, decided to return to his role of saboteur by saying, “You can’t gain weight eating like a vegetarian and I need to gain weight.” I gave her a look that said “good luck” and walked away shaking my head. The last thing I heard was her lambasting him about his future of obesity and disease.
To honor her mother’s cancer bout and J-Fur’s cookie desire, I decided to make sweet potato blondies. I filled them with Okinawan Sweet Potatoes (which are purple) because of their cancer fighting properties (and because the farmer’s market had some and I thought they looked pretty cool). This recipe was adapted slightly from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.
Okinawan Sweet Potato Bars (adapted slightly from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar)
-3/4 cup mashed Okinawan sweet potato (about two medium sized potatoes)
-1/2 cup applesauce (no sugar added)
-1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar
-1/2 cup dark brown sugar
-1/4 cup soy milk
-2 teaspoons vanilla
-1 1/4 cups unbleached [all-purpose] flour
-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
-1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
-2/3 cup toasted chopped pecans
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8 x 8-inch square metal brownie pan with aluminum foil, folding the excess over the sides. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Mix the sweet potato, applesauce, sugars, milk, and vanilla into a smooth batter.
3. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice. Mix, being careful not to overdo it.
4. Drop in the nuts and circulate the batter until they have been uniformly incorporated.
5. Pour the batter into the metal pan. Smooth out using a spatula. Bake until a toothpick stuck into the center of the bar comes out clean (about 30 minutes).
6. Allow the blondies to rest for at least 30 minutes. This allows the flavors to fully mesh and the bars to cool down. Slice and serve. Offer to your saboteur of a boyfriend (or girlfriend).
Pair these bars with things you shouldn’t say out loud. That’s where the new single from Picture Book, “In My Head,” fits perfectly. This is an entire song devoted to things that should remain in your head. Picture Book is made up of brothers Dario Darnell and Lorne Ashley, that were born in New York City and raised in Manchester under the tutelage of their legendary father, August Darnell, lead singer of Kid Creole & The Coconuts. The two brothers are prepping for the release of their second EP entitled Songs About Aimee. It is due out in October.
The Dirty Nil-Fuck School (originally by the Replacements):
Trails and Ways-Sure Thing (originally by Miguel)
Benjamin Francis Leftwich-Swim Until You Can’t See Land (originally by Frightened Rabbit)